“A riveting imagined world ripped right from the pages of history, this smart repartee captivates in every way. It’s atmospheric and tense, allowing the reader to easily conjure up what it must have been like to be a Roman vestal virgin. Well done.” —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Protocol
It is a world of power and privilege, secrets and sacred duty. It is the world of ancient Rome. And it is the esteemed Vestal Virgins—priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the home and hearth—who protect the Eternal Flame that protects the Eternal City.
Dedicated to a thirty-year vow of chaste service, Priestess Pomponia finds herself swept up in the intrigue, violence, wars, and bedroom politics of Rome’s elite—Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian and his maneuvering wife, Livia—all the while guarding the secret affection she has in her heart.
But when a charge of incestum—a broken vow of chastity—is made against the Vestal order, the ultimate punishment looms: death by being buried alive in the “Evil Field.”
In Brides of Rome, Book One in the Vesta Shadows series, Debra May Macleod skillfully re-creates the world of ancient Rome with all its brutality and brilliance, all its rich history and even richer legend. A true page-turner that is as smart as it is compelling, this must-read novel brings the Vestal order to life like never before.
In the stratified world of ancient Rome, there are citizens and slaves, soldiers and senators, priests and priestesses—and Caesar Augustus rules them all. Yet his authority holds only as long as the people believe the gods of Rome support him, particularly the beloved goddess of the home and hearth, Vesta.
As chief Vestal Virgin, Pomponia continues to devote her life to protecting her order and the eternal flame of Vesta. She has risen to a position of esteem in Rome and is a valued member of Caesar’s inner circle. But now a contagion ravages the city and tension rises among Rome’s inhabitants.
While she struggles to manage the Vestal order and maintain the favor of the goddess, Pomponia must now face a malevolent nobleman, Soren, whose machinations against her threaten not just her friendship with Caesar, but everything she loves.
In To Be Wolves, Book Two in the Vesta Shadows series, Debra May Macleod takes us back to her richly crafted and meticulously researched vision of ancient Rome, artfully re-created with both historical and all-new characters, from conniving elites to celebrity slaves. An even bolder offering than its predecessor, this gripping sequel to Brides of Rome explores an even darker side of Rome.
There is a saying in Rome: the Tarpeian Rock is near the Capitoline—meaning that even at the height of power, one is never far from a fall. As the Vestalis Maxima, Pomponia has guided her order through the collapse of Rome’s Republic and the rise of the Empire. Her wit and piety have elevated the Vestals to a position of unprecedented prestige—and her friendship with Caesar Augustus has personally afforded her a life of political influence and privilege. She has been adored and untouchable.
Yet that illusion of safety has been shattered by a ruthless enemy who continues to menace her from the shadows, his vengeful nature escalating to terrifying new heights that threaten not just Pomponia, but all those she cares for—including the emperor himself.
Worse, it seems that the gods are also turning against her when the Vestal order suffers an unparalleled crisis that Pomponia must answer for. Struggling to maintain her position, Pomponia looks to her slaves and a renegade charioteer for support as her complex relationship with her protégé, Quintina, brings painful secrets to light.
Faced with threats from all directions, Pomponia must be willing to sacrifice everything—even her own morality—to protect her status, the Vestal order, and the lives of those around her.
In Empire of Iron, the unflinching conclusion to the Vesta Shadows trilogy, Pomponia realizes that, like Rome itself, she must become even more ruthless than her enemies if she is to survive.